Garrett Jefferson is a 25 year old 190cm guard from Lakewoon, California playing for German team Cottbus in the Regionalliga 2. He started his basketball career at Citrus and then played 61 NCAA games with Hawaii (NCAA). For his senior year he moved to Cal.Baptist (NCAA2) playing 28 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 37.4%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 69.8%. As a professional player he has played with the Pontiac 66ers (MPBA) and Ejercito (Peru-LBL). He spoke to German Hoops about his basketball career.
Garrett thanks for talking to German Hoops.Where are you at the moment and how is your basketball life treating you at the moment?
Thanks for having me, I am currently in Cottbus Germany playing in the 2.Regionalliga for the “White Devils” of Cottbus. My basketball life is treating me well. I am out here trying to prove myself and make the most of my opportunity.
You finished school in 2014 and have had a hard time finding jobs as a professional. Last year you played briefly in Peru and since December are in Germany playing the game you love for the BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-2.Regionalliga). What is the greatest thing for you about having a job as a professional basketball player in Germany?
I think the greatest thing about have a job as a professional basketball player in Germany is just simply having the opportunity to play. I know many people are waiting on opportunities and working hard, and I think it’s a blessing to play at any level with the chance of advancement.
Your playing in the fifth league in Germany for the BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-2.Regionalliga). How big is your drive to be that next great Cinderella story about a player continuing to move up the ranks with his game?
I would say my drive is tremendous. I just want to keep improving my game and prove to people that I am a good player who cannot only play in the higher leagues, but become one of the top guys in the top leagues. At this point I believe any team that takes a chance on me will be getting a hidden gem and the opportunity to prove that would be amazing.
When you see your friends that are professional players playing around the world in higher leagues and compare them to your play, what do you feel is still missing in your game that will get you there in the future?
I am a big believer in taking advantage of your opportunities, and I know as long as I keep God first and keep improving my game the opportunities to play in those higher leagues will come.
The start of BBC White Devils Cottbus (Germany-2.Regionalliga) was horrible as you went 0-8, but since them have regrouped and have a 8-10 record. What was key to turning the season around?
When I arrived we were 0-8 and I think I was able to provide energy, confidence, and some added leadership to help turn things around, and give us momentum going in the right direction.
The club is mostly filled with Germans and there are only two imports with you and Yuriy Vasylyev who is from the Ukraine. What kind of experience has it been for you playing with German players?
I have really enjoyed my experience playing with Yuriy and all the German players. Its been great I been able to learn some of the differences between the European game and the American game of basketball.
Do you sense they really look up to you as a role model mainly because you are American and have played at a high level at the NCAA?
The young guys might look up to me, but I’m not sure and if so I don’t think its because of where I played but the type of teammate I am to them.
You are averaging 27,7ppg, 13,2rpg,6,1apg and 3,8spg. Does it feel like you are a man among boys this season?
It’s a blessing for me to have this opportunity to play and I am just trying to do whatever the team needs me to do so that we can win games. Sometimes it may be scoring, while other times it could be passing, rebounding, or guarding the other teams target player. The stats are good, but to me the win is the most important thing.
You are a 190cm guard that is averaging center like stats. What has been the difference in your play in the paint that has allowed a 190cm guard to dominate so much an area that usually isn´t the home of a guard?
I think its just extra effort and playing as hard as I possibly can and I think it is resulting in a lot of extra opportunities for the team and me.
You can fill up the stat sheet like no other, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I think my leadership and the ability to be a great teammate may get overlooked right away. The reason being is if your not at practice those things are tough to see, but I believe that those two things are extremely important on a team.
What has been the biggest wake up call for you in your first season in Germany where you know that you are far away from home?
I would say the biggest wake up call for me in my first season in Germany where I knew I wasn’t home was the weather. I am from Southern California and use to warm weather so living in the cold and buying a coat was quite an adjustment for me.
What is the next step for you as a professional? The only way is up? Do you feel like you would like to stay in Germany since you have made a name for yourself or would you like to explore another country and it´s basketball?
Well at this point in my career I just want to keep improving my game and moving up to higher leagues. So far I have enjoyed my time in Germany and if the opportunity presents its self for me to stay and move up I would love that, but if another opportunity presents itself in a different country I would enjoy that as well. That’s the great thing about having a career like this the ability to see the world.
You played briefly with Ejercito (Peru-LBL) last year. What overall experience was this for you and what crazy stories were there from Peru on and off the court?
Playing in Peru was a great experience for me definitely was eye opening and a lot different than Europe but overall I enjoyed my time there. One of the craziest stories in Peru was we had an important game against the team that was in first place. Our driver was late to pick me up me another import. We showed up at halftime and were already down by 30 points. Needless to say we lost the game.
You started your career at Citrus College and moved on to Hawaii(NCAA). Do you feel like you have the same drive then wanting to reach the NCAA as you do now wanting to keep moving up or is it bigger?
I believe that my drive to get better and move up is bigger than it was when I was in college. I was younger then and didn’t fully grasp the concept of not taking an opportunity for granted. I think now with my experiences and being away from basketball for and extended period of time, I know the importance of not taking things for granted and that drives me to be better everyday.
You played 61 NCAA games for Hawaii(NCAA) from 2011-2013. What overall kind of experience was that for you and what was the most important thing that you took from it despite the very limited playing time that you got?
Life in Hawaii was great basketball could have been better, but I learned a lot about myself as a player and the type of player I want to be in the future. I now use those same ideas that I learned in Hawaii as I continue to improve my game and try and move up to higher leagues.
You played together with German Christian Standhardinger who had a stellar career with Hawaii(NCAA) and is now playing in the highest German league BBL. An ex teammate at Nebraska(NCAA) where he began his college career can remember him telling his 60 point game from Germany and always worrying about his hair. Is that how you remember him or was he telling different stories at Hawaii?
No Christian never told me about his 60 point game, but he was very particular about his hair and his style of clothing.
Is Brandon Spearman a type of role model for you? You played a season with him at Hawaii(NCAA) and he continues to play very well in Germany in the Pro A league for Trier. Were you able to pick up things form him for your game?
Brandon Spearman Is a good friend of mine, I try and talk with him when I can and have even watched a few of his games this season. I think he is a real aggressive player always attacking and constantly has the defense on their heels and that is something I have tried to do since moving on from Hawaii.
As a senior you moved to Cal.Baptist (NCAA2) playing 28 games averaging 7.0ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 37.4%, 3PT: 20.7%, FT: 69.8%. How did head coach Roy Croy help groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Croy always talked about improving your game and that is what I have focused on since graduating from college constantly improving. Its interesting to look back and see how much my game has changed and how many improvements I have made in just two years since graduating from college.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
I would have to say Alan Williams who plays for the Phoenix Suns now I remember lots of film sessions as a team trying to figure out how we were going to defend him.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Brandon Spearman?
I don’t think me and Brandon ever played one on one, but if we did it would be a competitive game.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
I think it will always be a debate between him and Michael Jordan I think its to hard to judge with both being extremely different types of players.
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
I think he is in the top 5 of power forwards to ever play the game he brought so much passion to the game.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
That performance was one of the craziest things I have ever seen he can get hot really fast.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
I don’t know if he is the best in the world right now but his ability to do everything on the floor is pretty amazing and he is a joy to watch.
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
Wow that’s pretty impressive to accomplish I think he does so many little things and on that night it all just added up for him.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Garrett for the chat.